How to Check if Equifax Lost Your Personal Information When They Got Hacked
If you are American and have a credit report, there’s a good chance your personal data was compromised this Spring in the Equifax data breach. The personal data of 143 Million American consumers was vulnerable, that’s Social Security numbers, birth dates, addresses, and the numbers of some driver’s licenses. There are only about 167 Million credit card holders in the US, so it is safe to say that the majority of American credit card holders are affected. If you are one of the victims, at best you may need to freeze your credit in order to protect yourself temporarily, at worst it could mean a lifetime of responsible spending and borrowing wiped out by identity theft and fraud. If you haven’t already, you need to find out if you were affected. Equifax doesn’t know what the perpetrators will do with your information (if anything), but they can at least tell you if you were exposed by the hack.
Here is the link to check if you were part of the Equifax breach (they will ask for your name and the first 6 digits of your social)
If you want reassurance that his link is valid (and not some kind of scam) you can find the same link on the FTC (government) website as well.
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You may have been notified by Equifax in September of the breach and consequently frozen your own credit like some experts suggested, you may just have an email from Equifax sitting in your junk mail folder unopened, or you may not have received any notification at all. Equifax is not contacting all 143 million victims of its data breach, it only contacted those whose credit card numbers or dispute records were stolen specifically. In fact, Equifax waited 6 months to tell any of its customers of the breach, and before they did, several Equifax executives were busy selling their Equifax stock before the toxic news was released. Even after ‘coming clean’ about the breach in September, their plan was to trap their customers in a scheme that not only got Equifax legal protection from their victims, but potentially more profits. Here’s what Sen. Elizabeth Warren had to say about it:
“It’s bad enough that Equifax was so sloppy that it let hackers into its system, but the company’s response to the hack has been even worse. First, it hid the breach from consumers for more than a month. When it finally came clean, it failed to directly inform people about whether their information had been stolen, instead directing them to its website.
The website was confusing, but it was crystal clear on one thing: Everyone should sign up for a free year of Equifax’s credit monitoring service called TrustedID Premier. But there was a catch: To sign up, consumers had to sign an arbitration clause that would give up their right to go to court if they had any future dispute with Equifax. In addition, if consumers didn’t cancel the service before the end of the free year, they would automatically be charged after that.
After much public shaming, Equifax backed up on some terms, but not before demonstrating that its first instinct was to gouge consumers and profit off the hack of its own system.” Full article in Fortune Here
Senators Warren and Schat are planning on introducing ‘The Freedom from Equifax Exploitation Act, or FREE Act.’ The FREE Act allows every consumer to freeze and unfreeze their credit file for free. A freeze is like a “Do Not Call” list for your credit information. When your file is frozen, no one can access your data, and the credit reporting agency can’t sell it either. It’s partially about security—if your file is frozen, hackers who might have stolen your personal information can’t open credit cards or take out loans in your name. But giving you the right to freeze and unfreeze your file for free is also an easy way to give you back some control over your data.
FTC Recommendations if you were breached via FTC.GOV:
There are steps to take to help protect your information from being misused. Visit Equifax’s website, www.equifaxsecurity2017.com. (This link takes you away from our site. Equifaxsecurity2017.com is not controlled by the FTC.)
- Find out if your information was exposed. Click on the “Potential Impact” tab and enter your last name and the last six digits of your Social Security number. Your Social Security number is sensitive information, so make sure you’re on a secure computer and an encrypted network connection any time you enter it. The site will tell you if you’ve been affected by this breach.
- Whether or not your information was exposed, U.S. consumers can get a year of free credit monitoring and other services. The site will give you a date when you can come back to enroll. Write down the date and come back to the site and click “Enroll” on that date. You have until January 31, 2018 to enroll.
- You also can access frequently asked questions at the site.
Here are some other steps to take to help protect yourself after a data breach:
- Check your credit reports from Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion — for free — by visiting annualcreditreport.com. Accounts or activity that you don’t recognize could indicate identity theft. Visit IdentityTheft.gov to find out what to do.
- Consider placing a credit freeze on your files. A credit freeze makes it harder for someone to open a new account in your name. Keep in mind that a credit freeze won’t prevent a thief from making charges to your existing accounts.
- Monitor your existing credit card and bank accounts closely for charges you don’t recognize.
- If you decide against a credit freeze, consider placing a fraud alert on your files. A fraud alert warns creditors that you may be an identity theft victim and that they should verify that anyone seeking credit in your name really is you.
- File your taxes early — as soon as you have the tax information you need, before a scammer can. Tax identity theft happens when someone uses your Social Security number to get a tax refund or a job. Respond right away to letters from the IRS.
Visit Identitytheft.gov/databreach to learn more about protecting yourself after a data breach.